Monthly update No. 29 from President Dean

March 29, 2021

 

Dear Staff, Faculty and Students—

April is a special time for celebrating research at UNH; we hold both the Undergraduate Research Conference and the Graduate Research Conference . Student involvement in research, particularly at the undergraduate level, is a point of pride for UNH. Please take a moment to visit these links and see what our students are up to. Participating in research has been shown to be an important enrichment in a student’s educational experience. Thank you to all the faculty and staff who support these initiatives.

The UNH President’s Leadership Council often discusses articles on the future of higher education. At our March 4, meeting we discussed two such articles, The Great Contraction and Willful Blindness . The first article argues that the kinds of expense reductions that we have been doing at UNH are critical to the future of higher education, but that they must be matched by finding opportunities for growth. The second argues that there are a number of trends in higher education, including the threat from for-profit institutions and the expansion of programs beyond the traditional undergraduate degree, that we ignore at our peril. We at UNH are proud of the growth in our graduate, professional and certificate programs, and plan to take steps to foster their growth. I will have more to say about this in upcoming messages.

As we come to the end of Women’s History Month, I would like to invite you to an event this Wednesday, March 31, at 6 p.m. featuring Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, a UNH faculty member, and Katherine McKittrick, a professor of Gender Studies at Queens University. The conversation will be moderated by Kabria Baumgartner, a UNH associate professor in English and core faculty in Women's and Gender Studies. Details on their conversation can be found here.

I also invite you to participate in the 21-day Racial Equity Habit-Building Challenge which begins April 5; more information and the opportunity to participate can be found here.

I have enjoyed meeting students in my office hours over the past few weeks. We have discussed a wide range of topics, and these meetings always help me to better understand both the dreams and the challenges of our students. If you are interested in setting up an appointment with me, visit myWildcat Success and follow the instructions to schedule a time by choosing President Dean in the drop-down list.

We are continuing our planning for commencement ceremonies for the classes of 2020 and 2021, which will be held outside in Wildcat Stadium with the now-familiar precautions for COVID. We still need volunteers to help with the events, and I urge all of us to help where we can.  These ceremonies are incredibly meaningful to our students and their families. If you are interested in helping with these important events, please register here.

We are working on the budget for fiscal year 2022, which starts on July 1. There are a number of unique factors influencing this budget, including ongoing costs of COVID, our colleagues leaving us for retirement via the CERP, uncertainly about student enrollment and the availability of federal funds. I will update you more substantively in the next few months as we get all these issues sorted out.

As more people get vaccinated, we can begin to see the prospects of better days to come. I have now been vaccinated and I encourage everyone in the UNH community to get vaccinated when your opportunity comes. Please continue to take appropriate precautions, including testing, distancing and mask wearing. Because some people have asked about this, I want to be clear that these provisions are still necessary even for those who have had COVID or who have been vaccinated.

All best wishes for spring,

James W. Dean Jr.

President

P.S.—If you are interested in what I have been reading, click here